While I have been asked for training tips and race recommendations, a recent call from a sports reporter stopped me in my tracks. This young woman was investigating triathlon fatalities. As reported in the October 2008 edition of Inside Triathlon, 3 triathletes died in three separate races in July. This brings the number of race-related deaths up to 8 since January.
While this seems like a large number, considering there are over 100,000 members of USAT, it is actually a very, very small number. This is especially true as there are many thousands of “race day” licnensees that bump up the hundred thousand member number up considerably. While the incidence of deaths in the sport are being investigated, thorough, annual pre-season physicals with a sports medicine doctor can help identify health concerns and potentially avoid race day difficulties.
In my own experience helping injured people, we have had only one major race injury case and one bike tour crash. All of the other cases at the Herndon Reston area injury law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., have occurred during training rides, runs, swims or strength training. Most race directors arrange for closed, safe courses, staffed by volunteers and backed up with police and signs. So it comes as no surprise that more injuries and fatalities would arise during training, especially since much more time is spent preparing for races than in actual competition.